Phobias are extreme and irrational reactions to fear of a situation or an object that poses little or no danger. A person with phobia experiences dread or panic when he or she comes across the source of fear. Individuals with phobia tend to do anything within their power to avoid a particular danger that is only imaginary and seems extremely larger in their minds than they are in real life. When such a person is confronted with the cause of dread, he or she undergoes massive distress which can hinder them from functioning normally. Phobia often starts when a person begins organizing his or her life around avoiding the cause of phobia.

Types of Phobias

Phobias are categorized into three groups which include specific or simple phobias, social phobias as well as agoraphobia. Social phobia is also known as social anxiety disorder while agoraphobia is also called complex phobias. The two phobias are connected to anxiety about certain situations, events or conditions which affect their functionality more than simple phobias. Simple phobias involve fear of particular circumstances, living things such as insects, activities, things or places. There are popular phobias: dentophobia (fear of dentist), cynophobia (fear of dogs), ranidaphobia (fear of frogs), aviophobia (fear of flying), and ophidiophobic which is fear of snakes. On the other hand, social phobia is the fear of being among groups of people. An individual who has a social phobia are usually scared of attending gatherings such as parties, weddings, or exhibitions because they are afraid of being embarrassed. Such people are most fearful if they have to speak in public or make a presentation on a stage where there a large audience watching him or her. Psychologists argue that most adults who have social phobia developed the fear during their teenage years in which they avoided social gatherings. Lastly, agoraphobia is the fear of finding being enclosed somewhere such as in a lift, a bus, a train or large shopping malls.

Causes of Phobia

A phobia can be caused by factors ranging from genetic to environmental. Kids closely related to a person with anxiety disorders have a high probability of developing a phobia. Environmental factors such as being exposed to a confined place, great elevations, as well as insect and animal bites can cause a phobia. Besides, traumatic events such as a car accident and certain medical conditions such as cancer may lead to the development of a phobia. Finally, depression and substance abuse are linked to the development of a phobia.

Symptoms of Phobia

Symptoms of phobia include a feeling of avoiding any situation that triggers fear and a sensation of uncontrollable anxiety when exposed to the source of fear. Sometimes, the anxiety overwhelms the victim such that his or her functioning is significantly affected. Although the victims acknowledge that their fear is unreasonable and embellished, they are unable to control their feelings. Another symptom of a phobia is a feeling of dread and apprehension which may include abnormal breathing, trembling, pins and needles, butterflies in the stomach, hot flushes or chills and a sensation of choking.

Phobias can be treated with either therapeutic techniques, medications or a combination of both. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common treatment for phobias which entails being exposed to the what causes fear but in a controlled setting and allows reconditioning a person and reduction of anxiety. On the other hand, antidepressants and anti-anxiety are some of the medication that helps in calming emotional as well as physical reactions to fear. Conclusively, one can manage fears and live a productive life if the right treatment is administered.

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